Being LGBT in Italy isn’t easy. The community has been fighting to pass the law Zan against homophobia. Unfortunately, the debate froze in the Parliament. Then, the Italian community is fighting daily aggression, both verbal and physical. Indeed, “easy” isn’t the right adjective. While politicians discuss discrimination and racism, daily episodes of homophobia change the life of the LGBTQI+ community.
So, what’s going on in Italy?
One star on Tripadvisor
Paolo lives in Trapani and, as anyone else, one evening he was hungry. He went to a local eatery, ordering a sandwich with delicious speck and even french fries. Paolo was savoring it even before he brought it home. But things didn’t go as planned. While the sandwich was heavenly, the package wasn’t.
In fact, the employees of the restaurant had left the paper with the order on the to-go box by mistake. Usually, nothing to worry about. Except, this paper didn’t just have the order on it. It also had the word “GAY.” While Paolo wasn’t victim of any abuse in the restaurant, the label someone put on him spoke of stereotype and discrimination. From his attire and looks, someone assumed he was gay and this employee wanted to communicate it to everyone. Perhaps something to laugh at during the next staff meeting.
Paolo brought his disbelief to social media. On Tripadvisor, he left one star for the restaurant, writing “next time, keep the order’s paper to yourselves.”
Rome’s metro rainbow
Netflix Italy had decided to celebrate Pride Month 2021 by painting the rainbow in the subway stop Rome, Colosseum. Barely 48 hours later, vandals had already destroyed the symbol of LGBT in Italy. The community itself had voted for this specific location, after Netflix had done the same in Milan. The people responsible also took the flags and symbols of pride, throwing them into the train’s tracks. The mayoral candidate and spokesperson for the Italian Gay party, Fabrizio Marrazzo, didn’t take the episode lightly. To him, this was more than vandalism.
”This is a violent action, not just an act against a public good like the metro station,” said Marrazzo, “it’s very aggressive, like burning a country’s flag to cancel its identity. In a civilized country, these things shouldn’t happen. To fight against these episodes, we have to fight hate.” Then, Marrazzo spoke about the Zan proposal against homophobia, ”we should start from the schools, even in Rome.”
Kicked out of the beach
A lesbian couple was enjoying a day at the beach in Miseno, to breath fresh air in the hot Italian summer. Francesca and Martina were just trying to relax when a man approached them. His niece was trying to have doubts and ask questions, so he wanted the girls to leave.
“He insisted, he wanted us to go. When we refused, he started yelling,” the couple said on Instagram, “then, he came back with his daughter and he started attacking us and some people who were defending us.” The man hit a boy with the sun umbrella, while his daughter slapped one of the girl’s arm, yelling accusations. He accused the girls to be naked and obscene, when they were wearing a bikini and they didn’t even kiss.
“We felt so humiliated,” said Martina and Francesca, “we didn’t do anything wrong, we just wanted to spend a day at the beach, like anyone else.”
Hit with vegetables and fruits
While the two women were hit with a sun umbrella, radio DJ Roberto Bagazzoli and his friend were hit with apples, peaches, and vegetables. The DJ and his friend were kissing goodbye one evening in Pesaro. They were on the side of the road, just a chaste gesture before parting ways. But local kids didn’t like it.
“At some point, we heard kids talking from a nearby terrace and then they started throwing things at us,” said Bagazzoli to Gay magazine, “they were throwing whatever they could find, with the goal of hitting us.” At first, the DJ didn’t want to share his story. Then, he changed his mind.
“Pesaro is a city full of beauty but people, apparently, are still lacking. They targeted us because we were two men and that goes against any logic. That can’t be underestimated, no matter the kids’ age.”
So, speaking up to make sure being LGBT in Italy is safe. Safe from bigots, apples, and even homophobic aggression. While these episodes don’t paint a pretty picture and they don’t make a romantic Netflix show, sharing them is important. Why? Hopefully, to become better.